Kayhan Life: Empress Farah Pahlavi was in London earlier this week for the launch of a new art book, “Iran Modern,” about her significant contributions to the collection and display of modern art in Iran before the Revolution.
On Tuesday evening, the elegant Assouline bookstore in London was mobbed by well-dressed Iranians of all ages and walks of life who had come to meet, greet and photograph the former Empress, as well as to buy signed copies of her book.
In the 1970s, the Empress ordered the construction of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and assembled a collection of works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol that is now considered the most important collection of Western modern art existing outside of the West.
“What warms my heart is that many Iranians, especially young people who have been born after the Islamic revolution, who had heard so many negative things about the past… come to me with so much affection and friendship,” said Empress Farah as she addressed the dozens of expatriate Iranians and international art lovers gathered to see her.
A champion of the arts, Empress Farah Pahlavi dedicated herself to developing Iran as a cultural safe haven, supporting and nurturing Iranian artists through the creation of museums and exhibitions inside the country. She also collected an astounding array of art which included works by Van Gogh, Picasso and Rothko. The book includes a forward written by the Empress. Text within the body of the book was co-authored by Viola Raikhel-Bolot and Miranda Darling.
Speaking at the launch last night, Viola Raikhel-Bolot told a rapt audience, “London, you have not disappointed us yet… [the book] is a priceless testament to her majesty’s vision, but more important than this, is Her Majesty’s story and legacy”.
After speeches, The Empress came down to the book stand to speak with guests and sign copies of her book. She then stepped away from the signing table to walk around the bookstore and chat further with attendees, who greeted her in Persian, English and French.